Author Archive

Ramadan and Ruffled Feathers

Every year, we blissfully welcome the month of Ramadan, a blessed time of spiritual renewal, back into our lives. For many of us, it is a time of intense inward focus, introspection, and reflection on one’s life, deeds, and personal relationship with Allah Most High. Ramadan is a precious opportunity for introspection and self-focus, yet, […]

Closed Doors and Opened Eyes: Spirituality for the Non-Fasting

Originally posted in August 2009 | Updated and revised Ramadan is a blessed time of year often characterized by certain specific forms of worship. Fasting, reading Qur’an and performing salah (five times a day prayer) are the main focus of many people’s time and energy during this month. However, for most women a portion of […]

Meditations on Menstruation

Most Muslims today are generally familiar with the rulings of purification and menstruation in Islam, but there is often much to be desired in how we, as a community, discuss these rulings and how we understand them.  In a previous post, I touched on the need to change some of our negative ideas about menstruation.  […]

The Overlooked Struggle

It’s happened to many of us.  We come across a friend or relative—someone we would consider fairly religious—engaging in behavior that seems shocking or out of character.  You meet them on the street one day and see them dressed in a way you never would have imagined, when they were once proud to be physically […]

A Fresh Page, A Defining Moment: Ramadan This Year

Every person in this world has a life that’s an epic story, full of joys and sadnesses, challenges and opportunities, and ‘defining moments’ – moments in which a person comes to a realization, a deep awareness about themself, and decides to change something inside.  Such moments are when a person makes an intense resolve from their […]

16 Forever: Islam & Our Culture’s Fixation on Youth

Reconstructing Beauty Series: Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV | Part V | Part VI While it’s a natural instinct in all of us to seek to beautify ourselves and seek out beauty in others, we live in an age in which there is, as one author puts it, “a profound attachment to looks and aesthetics.”1 Instead […]

Three Steps of Knowledge

Two Hundred Word Tidbits: Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV | Part V The great scholar Sufyan ath-Thawri (may God be pleased with him) is reported to have said,  “Knowledge is three hand-spans: the first breeds arrogance, the second breeds humility, and in the third, you realize you know nothing.” When one first embarks on religious […]

Consideration for the Community

Two Hundred Word Tidbits: Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV | Part V The great 11th century scholar, Imam al-Haramayn al-Juwayni, author of the seminal work al-Waraqat in usul al-fiqh, held the opinion that performing a communal obligation (fard kifaya) was actually superior to performing an individualized one (fard ‘ayn).1 Most scholars hold the opposite opinion—that […]

Where All Needs Are Met

Two Hundred Word Tidbits: Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV | Part V In Surah Taha, in an address to Prophet Adam `alayhi sallatu wa sallam (may Allah send His peace and blessings on him), Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala (exalted is He) describes Jannah (Paradise) in the following words: “Indeed, it […]

On Calling Oneself to Account

Two Hundred Word Tidbits:  Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV | Part V The Arabic word for reflecting on one’s spiritual state and taking one’s deeds into account, al-muhasaba, is a word form that indicates and connotes duality (just as mujadala would mean an argument between two people, and musharaka a partnership between two).  […]

Two Hundred Word Tidbits

A series of beneficial points from various classes each written in two hundred words or less. Two Hundred Word Tidbits: Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV | Part V The Benefits of Hearing Stories of the Scholars and the Righteous: To be inspired by others who have struggled to get close to Allah subhanahu wa […]

Watch Over Your Heart

On Arrogance & the Student of Sacred Knowledge  Purifying one’s heart is a critically important matter for all believers, as the Qur’an and teachings of our Prophet ﷺ (peace be upon him) emphasize, but for one traveling the path of sacred knowledge it is an even more crucial endeavor.  This is because the state of […]

A Letter on Preparing for Death

By the Imam Hujjat al-Islam (The Proof of Islam) Muhammad bin Muhammad Abu Hamid al-Ghazali1 | Translated by Shazia Ahmad Introduction by the Translator I came across Risalat Sharh as-Sadr at the Dar as-Salaam Bookstore in Cairo a few months ago. It was a tiny booklet hidden away on a corner shelf, tucked in-between much larger volumes, […]

A Letter to the Aspiring Western Student of Islam

As salaamu `alaykum (Peace be upon you all), To my dear brother or sister from the West, You dream of escaping from the rat race and empty materialism of our modern, fast-food culture and traveling to a traditional land of Islam – a land that is exotic and different, steeped in history, where mosques stand […]

The Top Six Mistakes in Usul (Part 6)

Made by Students, Regular Muslim Folks & Many in Between: Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV | Part V | Part VI Mistake #1: “There is only one right answer for every issue.” Differences of opinion among scholars are a natural and inevitable part of Islamic jurisprudence.  We discussed a number of reasons for […]

Spiritual Pitfalls for the Muslim Blogger

Islam and the Internet Series: Intro | Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV | Part V | Part VI | Part VII | Part VIII | Part IV Blogs are gateways, that grant us access into the interior worlds of other people. They offer us glimpses into people’s experiences, thoughts and feelings, revealing […]

The Top Six Mistakes in Usul (Part 5)

Made by Students, Regular Muslim Folks & Many in Between: Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV | Part V | Part VI Mistake #2: “The rules of Shari`ah should be constant and unchanging.” On the opposite end of the spectrum of what was discussed in Part IV of this series are those who […]

The Top Six Mistakes in Usul (Part 4)

Made by Students, Regular Muslim Folks & Many in Between: Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV | Part V | Part VI Mistake #3: “All rulings change according to circumstances and context.” Another mistake people make when considering the rules of Shari’ah (Islamic law) is assuming that they are always subject […]

The Top Six Mistakes in Usul (Part 3)

Made by Students, Regular Muslim Folks & Many in Between: Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV | Part V | Part VI Mistake #4: “A daleel means a verse from the Qur’an or a hadith.” And, “If someone has daleel from the Qur’an and Sunnah for an issue, then there’s no […]

The Top Six Mistakes in Usul (Part 2)

Made by Students, Regular Muslim Folks & Many in Between: Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV | Part V | Part VI Mistake #5: “Lack of knowledge is always a valid excuse.” Just as Allah the Exalted is generous, tolerant, and compassionate, we find His Law marked by the qualities of […]